The 9 Best LED Worklights

Updated May 27, 2017 by Chase Brush

9 Best LED Worklights
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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Seeking illumination of a less spiritual, and more literal, nature? Something from our selection of durable LED work lights will brighten up your day immediately, whether you just need a compact, portable unit for occasional or emergency use, or require powerful beams to let you work indoors or outdoors safely and effectively. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best led worklight on Amazon.

9. Cat CT1000 175 Lumen

If all you need is a little extra brightness to tinker around the shop, check out the Cat CT1000 175 Lumen, which features a slim, compact design with a magnetic base and a rear clip for hanging on your work pants. It can run for seven hours on a single AAA battery.
  • comes in yellow or camo
  • rugged abs body
  • too small for many applications
Brand Caterpillar
Model CT1000
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

8. Bayco BA-2116 Corded LED

You'll need an outlet to power the Bayco BA-2116 Corded LED, but if you're looking for a solution that will brighten your garage or tool shop and can be used hands-free, it's a good option. Hang it from your ceiling or car hood when you're doing engine work.
  • moisture and chemical resistant
  • six feet of cord
  • heavy-duty rocker switch
Brand Bayco
Model BA-2116
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. EverBrite 2-Piece 27 LED Compact

Small enough to easily fit in a tool bag but powerful enough for most working conditions, these EverBrite 2-Piece 27 LED Compact are a must-have for the savvy contractor or builder. They have soft rubber cases that take damage well, and can be operated separately.
  • equipped with hooks and magnets
  • last up to 100000 hours
  • not as bright as other options
Brand EverBrite
Model E005001A
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

6. PowerSmith PWL21100TS Two-Head

The PowerSmith PWL21100TS Two-Head may look unwieldy, but it's actually a versatile unit that is suitable for use in many environments. The lightweight but sturdy tripod extends up to 80 inches tall and has a quick-release mechanism that allows you to remove the lamps.
  • sealed die-cast aluminum housing
  • can tilt up and down
  • stand is not super durable
Brand PowerSmith
Model PWL21100TS
Weight 21.2 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Ryobi 18-Volt One+

The Ryobi 18-Volt One+ incorporates a frosted window that helps soften and spread the light around the room, so it won't blind you if you look into it accidentally. It has a 1 amp USB charging port, plus a collapsible, rotating hook for easy positioning.
  • 330 lumens output
  • stylish ergonomic design
  • battery and charger sold separately
Brand Ryobi
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Torchstar Cordless Rechargeable

The multi-use Torchstar Cordless Rechargeable can be hung atop your workbench using the built-in hook, stuck to the side of your car during tire changes with its magnetic base, or simply held in the hand to get deep down into those dark spaces.
  • articulated head moves 180 degrees
  • includes two chargers
  • great for automotive work
Model Y00J1Z38N6
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. Milwaukee 2360-20 M18 Trueview

The Milwaukee 2360-20 M18 Trueview uses 12 LEDs to throw a wide beam that is brighter than most halogen lamps. The head can be directed up or down, and the whole thing can be mounted vertically or horizontally using the three built-in key holes.
  • runs on battery or mains
  • three brightness settings
  • handles tough working conditions
Brand Milwaukee
Model 2360-20
Weight 7.4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Hallomall Spotlight

The Hallomall Spotlight runs off a rechargeable lithium ion battery, so it requires no outlet to illuminate your work site, campsite, or any other dim outdoor space. A built-in USB port even allows you to power your mobile device in a pinch.
  • 100 percent waterproof construction
  • red and blue flashing leds
  • lamp rotates 360 degrees
Brand Hallomall
Model HA-929
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Snap-On 922261 2000 Lumens

The Snap-On 922261 2000 Lumens puts super bright power anywhere you need it while requiring minimal floor space, making it a good option for tight jobs and crowded work sites. Its compact body can be perched on the ground and tilted to direct the field of light as needed.
  • sealed on-off switch
  • ergonomic padded carrying handle
  • stays cool to the touch
Brand Snap-on
Model 922261
Weight 4.6 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Shining Light On the Situation: The LED Worklight

Prior to the advent of the electric light in the 19th century, once the sun had set, humans had but two options when it came to their work. They could simply stop working for the day and await the following sunrise, or they could continue their efforts by the flickering light of a candle, torch, or burning lamp.

The 20th century saw ever-greater advancements in lightbulb miniaturization, durability, and in potency of their output. And starting in the 1950s, the illumination technology that is now a part of our everyday lives first began to enjoy practical development. The first commercial LEDs produced relatively faint light suitable for use in indicator lamps such as might be found on the instrument panel of a vehicle or on a household appliance. Most early LEDs produced only red light.

Over the second half of the 1900s, LED technology advanced rapidly, and soon these diminutive devices were capable of producing not only a vast array of colors of light, but enough illumination to outclass many other types of bulb, including the traditional mainstay, the incandescent light.

And not only are LED lights powerful, but they are remarkably efficient as well, consuming much less electricity than other lights that produce comparable illumination. They also produce much less heat than other lights, making them ideal for use in close proximity to people. Thus the ascendant popularity of the LED worklight. With so many viable options now available in this category, it should be easy to find a light source that suits your working needs, no sunlight or torchlight required.

The most basic consideration to be made when choosing the right LED light for your purposes is the simple output volume you need in order to get your work done, or in other words, the brightness. If a light is not bright enough for your workspace, it's not adequate to meet your needs no matter what other features it offers. So first and foremost, you must consider lumen output. (See below for more information on output.)

Next consider the mounting or anchoring system a worklight uses. Many options come with tall stands that can help direct light about a workspace or shine down into the hood of a car, while others are designed to perch on the ground and are stable and resilient even when jostled. Still other LED lights feature powerful magnets that allow them to be placed on pipes, on a vehicle's body, and so forth.

Finally, consider the power source an LED light uses. For the campsite or the worker whose occupation brings him out into the woods or to the roadside, a battery-powered unit is a must have. For the construction professional, an AC-powered device might make much more sense, as it will never run out of energy.

A Few Words On Properties of Light

If you are committed to purchasing the right LED light for illuminating your work or hobbies, you need to have at least a rudimentary understanding of a few key aspects of illumination.

First and foremost, the term LED is an acronym for Light Emitting Diode. These elegantly simple semiconductor devices work by emitting photons, the basic light particle, when the right electrical charge is passed between the two components of a P-N junction. Light is, effectively, the welcome byproduct of a controlled electrical reaction.

The basic unit of measuring the brightness of a light is the lumen. Simply stated, the more lumens a light produces, the brighter that light is. As most of us remain more familiar with the traditional output ratings associated with incandescent bulbs, a quick comparison is warranted. The brightness of a standard 100-watt bulb is matched by LEDs producing around 1,600 lumens. A 75-watt bulb creates about 1,100 lumens, and a 40-watt bulb some 450 lumens.

As many LED work lights produce as much as 5,000 lumen outputs, suitable for replacing multiple large incandescent lightbulbs, their merit as effective and efficient is beyond doubt. But the type of light LEDs produce is also different than many other bulbs, and that too demands a bit of explanation.

Light color temperature is typically measured in degrees on the Kelvin scale, which abbreviated as K. Softer, "warmer" light that gives off a yellow-orange glow is rated lower on the scale, in the 2000K to 3000K range. Brighter, "cole" light is usually somewhere between 4500 and 6500K. Lights with a higher color temperature can seem harsh to some eyes, but in fact they come closer to approximating the color of sunlight, which is rated at about 5800K. So an LED light with a high lumen output and a high Kelvin rating is often the best bet for productive work after sunset.

A Bright Idea: Using LED Lights Safely

LED lighting does not get nearly as hot as more traditional illumination sources including standard incandescent and halogen bulbs. Indeed LEDs are celebrated for how cool they stay, with said cooling largely provided by a heat sink built into the base of the bulb. But don't think that LEDs won't warm up at all, for indeed they will.

An intense worklight with a battery of LEDs shining in close proximity will get too hot to safely touch and can produce a fire hazard under certain circumstances. These issues are minor if understood, but potentially serious if not considered. And of course as with any electrical device, considerable caution must be used when an LED worklight is anywhere near water.

Beyond the dangers of a burn or a fire, the very brightness for which LEDs are celebrated is also a potential danger: extremely bright light can cause severe damage to the eyes, both with limited acute exposure and with chronic exposure. Always make sure to position worklights where they will not shine into your eyes even in a tangential direction.

The light source should be behind you, not to one side. And position a worklight as far away from your actual area of work as possible while still allowing for suitable illumination; the same LEDs that are harmless when viewed from across a room might be hazardous when glanced at from arm's length.

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Last updated on May 27, 2017 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.

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